QUESTION: I have a E. Digraph 31 day regulator clock It was my grandmothers and has been in the basement for years. I wound it up and it seems to work ok. the clock face is stained perhaps mold or old water stain I don't know, How can I clean it up a bit ,doesn't have to look like new?
ANSWER: Hi Tim,
My father used to tell me that people have faces and clocks have dials :>). Thanks for having me think of him.
Dials should be handled with care. Many solvents can dissolve the numbers or smear them.
You didn't mention what type of dial it is; metal, porcelain, paper?
Porcelain clean the easiest. Always use just water and dampen a cloth. Always go slowly and pat the dial.
Metal, when stained, is impossible to rid of tarnish stains unless you take down the dial to the original metal and repaint the numbers. A professional dial person can do that.
Paper, when stained, is also impossible to rid of stains unless you repaper the dial with a new paper. Then it isn't original anymore.
The best thing to do is to wipe away the mold and remove as much dirt as you can with a damp cloth, patting it, not rubbing it.
If it's very badly damaged you may need to send it out to a dial person so they can take care of it.
If this is an antique clock I would be concerned about having the clock cleaned and oiled. The old oil has set after these years of not moving. This can wear the pivots holes and the pivots of the gears themselves and cause costly problems in the future.
If the clock is one of the newer Korean clocks (30 years), and isn't badly worn already you may want to have it cleaned and oiled to prevent any further wear of the pivot holes.
Clocks do ~not~ run forever without service every 3-5 years or so.
Perhaps you can ask another expert about dials. I try not to touch them with my hands or any other chemicals to prevent ruining them or causing tarnish on them. The oil from your hands eats away at the lacquer and causes tarnish in those places. This goes for weight shells and pendulums as well.
I have the name of an artist who does dials. If you want I can get his name and number for you. It can be costly to have a dial restored.
If it is a newer clock maybe you can find a basket case on ebay or yard sale with the same dimensions of the winding arbor to winding arbor and from the winding arbor to the hand shaft hole.
I'm sorry I couldn't be of more service to you. Marilyn The Clocklady 631-816-0431
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks Marilyn I think it is paper. it is a E Ingraham clock, very old. should I use a mild bleach solution patted not wiped? I would try on a edge. what can I clean the gears with? what type of oil? Thanks Tim
Perhaps bleach that is greatly diluted, with you testing a place before going for the plunge. Then pat it damp. Do a search for "dial cleaning" on the internet to see if any good advice is given there.
Oiling/cleaning is another topic.
This 31 Ingraham clock, does it have 2 winding holes to run a time only clock with no striking?
Let's start this on another thread. I need to know more about this clock before I suggest any cleaning or oiling to you.
Marilyn The Clocklady 631-816-0431